Out With Hedge Funds, In With Blue Bloods

Xconomy – Vertex Pharmaceuticals has been around the block with biotech hedge funds. These are the people who aim to get rich trading volatile stocks second-to-second, and make big bets, long or short, on whether an experimental drug will work. Now that Vertex has passed some of the riskiest stages of drug development, the company figured it was time for steady, buy-and-hold investors to support the next phase, as it morphs into a commercial player.

That was one of the insights that I gathered yesterday in a conversation with Vertex chief financial officer Ian Smith. He was in a pretty good mood—as you might be too, if you’d just helped your company raise $320 million in a secondary stock offering. The financing is important because it gives Vertex (NASDAQ: VRTX) enough cash to operate until it introduces its lead drug to the market and starts generating positive cash flow, according to analyst Thomas Russo of Robert W. Baird & Co. Especially in the midst of a recession, that’s good news for Vertex’s 1,300 employees in Cambridge, MA, and 200 in San Diego.

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